Monday May 13, 2013
Josh Holloway will star in a new CBS sci-fi-tinged series.
© Kevin Winter/Getty Images
As part of their upfronts, the four broadcast networks announced their decisions on a number of pending sci-fi properties--and it's pretty much all good news.The CW
--The big question mark at the CW was whether Beauty and the Beast
would be renewed, mainly because it was conspicuously absent from the network's enthusiastic renewals of the other three fantasy series
on its schedule. But beast
fans can breathe a sigh of relief: the show has been renewed for a second season.
Meanwhile, surprising absolutely no one, the network is going ahead with The Originals
, the much talked about spin-off of The Vampire Diaries
. The show was introduced during a back-door pilot installment
of The Vampire Diaries
episode that aired with much ado and success on Thursday, April 25. CBS
--After the petering away of A Gifted Man
and, further back, Ghost Whisperer
, CBS has been sitting out the supernatural genre. Instead, on the heels of its upcoming run of the Stephen King adaptation Under the Dome
, it's heading into straight sci-fi procedural: the pilot Intelligence
, about an agent (Lost
's Josh Holloway) who has a microchip implanted in his brain, has gotten a series order from CBS. Also in the cast: Meghan Ory, John Billingsley, and Marg Helgenberger.ABC
--ABC has renewed ten series, including Once Upon A Time
, and officially ordered two shoo-ins that have been on deck: Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
, with Ming-Na
and Iain De Caestecker
, and the spin-off Once Upon a Time in Wonderland
Monday May 13, 2013
Joseph Kosinski is developing a much-anticipated sci-fi series for AMC.
© Gage Skidmore
As the spring season winds up, a number of cable networks have announced or confirmed orders for shows of interest to sci-fi and fantasy fans.Syfy
--Syfy has renewed Defiance
, after four episodes of the massive publicized hyprid TV series/gaming franchise. The network has given a 13-episode second season order to the series, which will begin production in Toronto in August for a 2014 premiere.BBC America
--Another new series has also been renewed only a few episodes into its freshman run. BBC America has renewed its original series, the conspiracy clone thriller Orphan Black
for a second season. The show, from Temple Street Productions, will return with 10 new episodes as part of Supernatural Saturday in 2014. AMC
--Even AMC is getting into the act, and with an aim to impress. Their upfront presentation included a futuristic drama called Ballistic City
, which tells the story of a former cop thrust into the criminal underworld of a city housed in a generational space ship destined for a an unknown world. The series is generating some excitement because it's being directed and executive produced by Tron Legacy
director Joseph Kosinski--and
and written and executive produced by Pacific Rim
writer Travis Beacham. With that logline and caliber of creators, hopes for another Battlestar Galactica
are mounting, but we'll have to wait to hear more.Lifetime
--Lifetime has placed Witches of East End
on its schedule for the fall. The new series, Lifetime's first essay into the paranormal, stars Julia Ormond, Jenna Dewan-Tatum, and Madchen Amick in a drama about a family of witches. The network ordered 10 episodes.
Monday May 13, 2013
© Comedy Central
Comedy Central has announced that Futurama
, the hip animated series that was launched on Fox in 1999, ran for five seasons until its much-lamented cancellation in 2003, only to be relaunched with great fanfare
in 2010, will end its second life this year after four summers of newly minted awesome.
The culprit seems to be tepid ratings. Futurama
has always had a smaller but more fervent fanbase than its more mainstream cousins like The Simpsons
, and the latest runs on Comedy Central haven't built the network any new audiences or, for that matter, served much as water-cooler fodder in real life or the twitterverse.
The axe certainly came as no surprise to the show's creators. "I felt like we were already in the bonus round on these last couple of seasons, so I can't say I was devastated by the news," series executive producer and co-developer David X. Cohen told Entertainment Weekly
. "It was what I had expected two years earlier. At this point, I keep a suitcase by my office door so I can be cancelled at a moment's notice."
Of course, jokes about the show's having survived death already littered the reaction, from Comedy Central honchos on down. "The upcoming season promises to be the best final season of Futurama
yet," quipped network veep Dave Bernath. Hahaha, that's hilarious, Dave.
Creator Matt Groening likewise sounded almost as though Futurama
die, hedging his quote on the big final season. "I'm very proud of the upcoming season," he said. "If this is indeed the end of Futurama
, it's a fantastic finish to a good, long run."
The show's final season debuts on Wednesday, June 19; its finale is slated for Wednesday, September 4. Guest stars for the final season include Larry Bird and Emilia Clarke alongside such obvious contenders as Dan Castellaneta, Sarah Silverman, George Takei, Adam West, and Burt Ward. Larry Bird? Shouldn't he be on The Neighbors
The Comedy Central run, which officially counts as seasons 6 and 7 (both divided in half over two summers, which--why doesn't that count as four seasons, again?), amounts in total to 52 episodes, bringing the total number of eps for the franchise up to 140. (Just for comparison, Groening's other big claim to fame in TV land, The Simpsons
, has racked up over 530 episodes. And yet there were only 14 Firefly
ever rise again? It sounds as though both Groening and Cohen are wary of running Futurama
into the ground, even were they given the chance. "We've been in this situation before," Groening said, "and it's tempting when you're doing episodes that are as good or better than anything you've ever done to continue doing it."
Monday May 13, 2013
The premiere of CBS's Under the Dome
is around the corner, but a high-profile producer is already looking ahead to the next big King thing: another go at an adaptation of King's well-received recent novel about time travel and the JFK assassination.
There was already an abortive run at the book by Jonathan Demme, J.J. Abrams' Bad Robot production company and Warner Bros. are said to be in talks to adapt King's 2011 bestseller 11/22/63
into a TV series or miniseries. The story centers on a teacher who travels back in time to five years before John F. Kennedy's assassination and goes on a mission to prevent it.
It's hard to see how it might develop into a conventional series--there is, after all, a restricted time frame and limited number of events to elaborate on--but then, we've had series based around hard stops before (FlashForward
, for example, not that that was a resounding success), and there is plenty of precedent for Abrams taking his time letting things develop slowly and in no particular direction (I'm looking at you, Felicity
). One might wonder when Abrams might find time to do it, too, but Abrams has developed a very efficient system of collaborating simultaneously with multiple teams on different projects.
The main problem might be that a plot involving time travel and Lee Harvey Oswald will have some people, myself for instance, looking around for Scott Bakula and Dean Stockwell.